Ever come across an unusual word and wonder how it ever came into the language? Well, if you have, check out the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), an online database from the Andersen Library.
This enormous online source contains the complete text of the OED’s twenty-volume print second edition and draft material from the current OED project. Not only will you find definitions, pronunciation information, and the part of speech to over 600,000 English words, but this dictionary also traces the word’s development (the “etymology” of words). Using quotations from around the English-speaking world, the OED helps demonstrate how the English language has changed and continues to change. Some word entries go back fifteen hundred years!
To search the OED online, just type a word in the search box and enter.
See a short tutorial of how to use the simple search in the OED.